Strange Bird: The Albatross Press and the Third Reich

Michele K. Troy. Yale Univ., $40 (448p) ISBN 978-0-300-21568-7
Albatross Press, started shortly before the rise of Nazism, had a strange and perplexing business model: it was incorporated as a German firm, with an office in Paris and English financial backing. It was the purveyor of the great (and often controversial) modern authors of England and America (Aldous Huxley, James Joyce, D.H. Lawrence) to an increasingly tumultuous continental Europe. In the hands of Troy, a professor of English at the University of Hartford, the story of how this English-language book publishing company survived in the heart of the Third Reich becomes an absorbing tale of economics, censorship, and literature. Troy has brilliantly pieced together the engrossing lives and corporate chess game of Albatross’s three principal players: the enigmatic and urbane John Holroyd-Reece, the company’s public face and mastermind of the German-English-French axis that made Albatross unique; passionate Max Christian Wegner, who had been abruptly dismissed from Albatross’s chief rival in the English-language continental book trade, Tauchnitz; and Kurt Enoch, who ran the main office in Hamburg and whose escape from Germany to France to the U.S. forms a gripping subplot. Troy’s riveting exploration of Albatross is a rewarding mix of publishing history, literary criticism, and biography. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/06/2017
Release date: 04/01/2017
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